Pangong Lake also known as Pangong Tso is a beautiful lake situated in the Himalayas and is 140 km long, extending from India to China. Pangong Lake is situated at a height of 4350 m and is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the country, 30% of the lake is under Indian Govt and another 70% is covered by China. The lake is said to be in the process of being identified as a wetland with international significance under the Ramsar Convention and if everything goes as expected then the Pangong Lake will be the first in South Asia to be a trans-boundary wetland and that too under this convention.
The one factor that makes this Lake so popular is the fact that it keeps changing colors. Situated in the Himalayan range it is approximately 140 km from Leh in Jammu and Kashmir. The name of the lake Pangong was got from a Tibetan word Banggong Co that means a narrow and enchanted lake. And now you know that the lake has got its name rightfully. You will know this when you visit the beautiful lake of Pangong.
All you need to do is take a five hour drive from Leh to reach Pangong Lake. The best part about this journey is the route that leads to the lake. You have to pass through Ladakh which is another great tourist attraction of the country and drive over the world’s third highest motorable mountain pass called the Chang La were you can find Indian army camps (Fabricated Dome Houses). The first glance of this alluring lake and its blue waters is enough to leave a lasting impression on your mind. What tourists and explorers love the most here is the narrow stretch of land that goes straight into the lake. This spot has also been a favorite among many photographers. If you are planning to visit Pangong Lake, make sure you do not visit during winters because the whole lake freezes during this season of the year. Also the region has really harsh winters, so avoid places like these during winters. The fascinating fact about Pangong Lake is that it has saline water and even then the water freezes and also because of this the lake cannot have any kind of vegetation or even aquatic life. But again, you do not have to be disappointed; you will be treated to the views of many migratory birds like black necked cranes and also seagulls. This place is paradise for bird lovers especially with sightings of other birds like rodents that are said to grow up to the size of a dog. For activities, you can camp on the shores of this lake and this one is going to be sheer delight for adventure enthusiasts.
The Pangong Lake falls on the Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control and to visit this beautiful lake you are required to get Inner Line permission. Also because the Pangong Lake is situated very close to the border, you will be allowed to visit only up to a certain area. You can explore the lake till the Spangmik village. Whenever you plan to visit this magical place, make sure you do carry a lot of winter clothes. The climate is cold and after dawn it gets harsher. Do not expect any kind of boating activities here. Being situated so close o the border, the Pangong Lake is still considered to be a very delicate region to visit. Visit this place only for its beauty and magnificence. And for any kind of adventure, the only option that you got is to camp on the shores of the lake. If you love photography, this place is going to be an absolute delight.
And just for a gentle reminder, the Pangong Lake has also featured in a Bollywood movie- 3 Idiots. Remember the scene where Kareena Kapoor goes to meet Aamir Khan riding a scooter? You can also find the same scooter there and another movie shoot here is JAB TAK HAI JAAN, SANAM RE and RACE 3. That is Pangong Lake and those of you who have watched the movie’s know that the picturesque beauty of Pangong Tso or the Pangong Lake is unmatched for.
And The end ALL IS WELL
Where to stay:
If you are looking for an accommodation somewhere close to the Lake, then tents are the only option that you can consider. Like we mentioned earlier, camping is allowed on the shores of the lake. The region has pretty limited options to stay at and even in the surrounding regions . You could also look for Online Holidays- they offer decent camping options with Eco Huts. Else you could also look for accommodation in Spangmik and these accommodations are standard hotels with just basic facilities. And if you have the skills of bonding with locals, then you will be surprised to know that the locals offer accommodation. The only thing that might be a little uncomfortable for some is the fact that toilets are shared and some are outside the house.
Apart from this you can also consider some options in Tangtse village situated in Leh. This village is situated approximately 36 km away from Pangong Lake. From mid range to budget hotels, there are a lot of accommodation options that you can find in Tangtse.
Hotel Pangong Tariff starting Rs 3000 onwards) is a one of the best accommodation options that you can consider. Pangong Residency has an ideal blend of both modern and local architecture. Situated in Tangtse village, the reason why many tourists prefer this hotel is not just for its facilities, but also for its close proximity to the alluring Pangong Lake. The tranquil surroundings and the picturesque landscapes make your stay in this hotel a memorable one. This is an ideal place if you have wanted to spend some time amidst lush greenery and calm environment. The staff is very forthcoming and they ensure your stay with them is a comfortable one. The interesting part about this hotel is also that they provide medical aid ranging from Oxygen cylinders and doctors on call. From here you can explore the village and interact with locals. You never know you might be also treated to the traditional Ladakhi food.
There are some great accommodation options in Spangmik that are homestays. In fact most of the accommodation found here are homestays and an added advantage with home stays are that they serve delicious home cooked food. It gives you a feeling of being home away from home. The facilities are all basic and the prices are pocket friendly. You do not have to burn a hole in your pocket to find accommodation in Spangmik. There are guest houses too like the Padma Guest house that offers spectacular views of the Pangong Tso Lake. You cannot book your rooms here in advance and the bookings can be done only after you reach there. The price for a double bed here is Rs 700 to Rs 1000.
For more facilities you can also try the Himalayan Retreat located in Spangmik that is also a tented accommodation with attached western bathrooms. Electricity here is only for a limited period and the cost for tents here is Rs 3500.
The other option that you can consider is booking accommodation in Leh. Leh has many hotels since it is one of the biggest tourist destinations of the country. People from all over visit Leh and it has been a favorite among bikers and explorers. So if you have put Pangong Lake in your itinerary, then there is nothing to worry about the accommodation. We have listed down some of the best hotels in Leh for you.
Grand Himalaya ( Tariff- Rs 7400 approximately) Hotel Zen, Hotel Saboo Resorts, Hotel Singge Palace Leh these hotels is a great, luxury hotel in Leh Hotel Natures Nest, Hotel Munshi Continental ( Tariff- Rs 3500 approximately) in Budget option there is Hotel Khan Manzil located in main market ( Tariff- Rs 2000 approximately). So you now know that if you want to visit Pangong Lake, you must look for accommodation options in Leh.
Where to Book :
Book any were but be sure your travel agent should registered travel agent by Jammu Kashmir Ladakh Tourism.
Before start your travel book your Hotels Camps and cab for smooth and comfort holiday.
Things to Carry :
Warm Clothes, Rain Coat, Postpaid Sim card, Water, Medicines, Sunscreen lotion, UV sunglasses, Lip balm, Sweater, Gloves.
(Diamox Tablet ) starting 24 hours before journey and continue for a few more days after you reach.
Emergency Contact numbers in leh
TOURIST RECEPTION CENTRE LEH 0198-2252297
Police District Headquarter, Leh 01982-252200 01982-253320